Unfolding Apartment – A Tiny Transforming Apartment in Manhattan

Dubbed the Unfolding Apartment, this tiny apartment in Manhattan makes use of clever hide-away storage solutions and furniture pieces. The apartment’s interior has been designed by Michael K Chen Architecture.


Unfolding Apartment - Michael K Chen Architecture - New York - Living Area - Humble Homes

The owner works from home and frequently entertains guests. The redesign needed to reflect these requirements. Given the limited floor plan of 400 square feet (37 square meters), the rooms would have to do double duty, serving several functions where possible.


Unfolding Apartment - Michael K Chen Architecture - New York - Living Area 2 - Humble Homes

The bulk of the redesign can be accounted for in a single unit of furniture. The bright blue cabinet contains number of items including a study desk, table, clothes closet and kitchen storage. It also features a Murphy bed with a rotating panel that acts as a room divider, creating a more private space for the bedroom.


Unfolding Apartment - Michael K Chen Architecture - New York - Study Area - Humble Homes

Both ends of the unit contain storage and shelving; one end is dedicated to kitchen accessories, the other to books. From the architect: “Rather than the typical Manhattan approach of dividing a small space into even smaller individual rooms and spaces, a strategy of extreme density and flexibility is employed. A single oversized custom cabinetry piece is inserted along one wall.”

Unfolding Apartment - Michael K Chen Architecture - New York - Storage Units - Humble Homes

By not splitting the apartment up into a series of smaller individual rooms, they’ve been able to keep the entire space brightly lit with the 4 windows found to the front of the property. The architect also says that changing the rooms functions has an impact on the atmosphere – it can go from being cozy and intimate, to airy and loft-like.

Unfolding Apartment - Michael K Chen Architecture - New York - Murphy Bed - Humble Homes

From the architect: “The domestic spaces of the apartment can be expanded progressively and adjusted via a reconfigurable series of doors and panels… Spaces can be calibrated to be private or more porous via reflective secondary panels that open to reveal perforated lacquered metal screens.”

For more small apartments check out this traditional property in Spain that gets a modern revamp (and a floating desk). Or, Strict Elegance, a contemporary apartment in Budapest by Batlab. See all apartments.

Via Contemporist
Photos: Alan Tansey

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

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